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The Plough and Harrow, London, 6 February 2017

8 February 2017

It was a fraught journey of train cancellations and delays, yet somehow I still reached The Plough and Harrow with ten minutes to spare. Inside, Esther was tucking into chips. This may seem strange preparation for modelling, but as she’d eaten only two slices of toast all day up to that point, it was little short of essential. When the chips were down, we ran through a few pose ideas with Jenny – organiser of Life Drawing in Leytonstone – and then, at the stroke of 7:30pm, it was time to disrobe…

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We started with a 10-minute standing pose, bodies in contact, me behind Esther with my arms around her; seemingly simple yet not without minor challenges. So much of life modelling is about balance that even the smallest movement is amplified if it pulls away from, or pushes into a co-model. We followed this with another 10-minute pose, Esther standing once more, and me now seated as a complex tangle of limbs around her legs – possibly our trickiest challenge for the artists.

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The first half ended with us sitting in an intimate embrace on a large leather footstool, with Esther nestling in between my legs and me reaching around her. Again, it would have appeared sumptuously comfortable, but we took time and due care in arranging our limbs to avoid numbness. This was a 30-minute pose, after all. A grand selection of teas and chocolates awaited us at the interval; it’s a very friendly group, and Jenny takes great care of her artists and models.

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One long pose of 45-minutes occupied the second half. We lay down together on our sides, once more in a tight embrace with me to the rear. As Esther recalled later, the artists didn’t see my full body all evening, yet I doubt this would have been a concern. Composition of each pose is more important, so given our comparative sizes it’s only natural that I should be behind Esther more often than not. When our work was done, we stayed on for a drink and chat with the group – thank you all for a lovely evening.

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